At the end of Ch. 9 of The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God, Dallas Willard gives some advice to ministers for implementing “a curriculum for Christlikeness.” He says:
“Finally, we should speak, teach, and––if that is our place––teach the gospel of the kingdom of the heavens in its fullness. Practically, that means that in our various communications we focus on the Gospels and on teaching what Jesus himself taught in the manner he taught it. This, with intelligent prayer and loving deed, is our method for ‘ravishing people with the kingdom of God,’ and thus preparing them for the step into out-and-out apprenticeship….
“We must, of course, settle it in our minds that there will always be difficulties in the local setting when one becomes serious about discipleship to Jesus and an associated curriculum. But God is always there for those who serve him, no matter what; and we can ‘count it all joy’––really––and expect the manifest grace of God to be active in our midst.
“Although I have not been a pastor for many years, I have always continued to teach quite regularly in churches and churchlike settings. The appeal and power of Jesus’ call to the kingdom and discipleship is great, and people generally, of every type and background, will respond favorably if that call is only presented with directness, generosity of spirit, intelligence, and love, trusting God alone for the outcome.
“We may not soon have bigger crowds around us––and in fact they may for a while even get smaller––but we will soon have bigger Christians for sure. This is what I call ‘church growth for those who hate it.’ And bigger crowds are sure to follow, for the simple reason that human beings desperately need what we bring to them, the word and reality of The Kingdom Among Us.” (372-73)
Join other dedicated readers of Thinking and Believing and subscribe to the email list. You'll receive every new post in your inbox, so you never have to worry about missing a post. Click here to subscribe.